This opportunity is now closed.

Funded PhD Opportunity

Design of complex structural composite preforms through advanced material understanding

Subject: Engineering


Summary

There is a growing interest in 3D woven composites in industrial applications as the demand for tailored performance and near net shape preforms continues to expand.  One of the major barriers for the uptake of 3D woven preforms in critical industries such as aerospace is the ability of the material to meet strict Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) approval.  This is largely due to variation and “unknowns” in the preform as a result of the weaving process.  Research at Ulster has demonstrated that, despite the enhanced mechanical performance achievable with 3D woven composites, current manufacturing methods are not optimised. This can cause detrimental knock downs in actual strength of the yarns in the preform due to damage to the yarn induced in the weaving process.

During the weaving process, fibre yarns are pulled through several guides or mechanical interactions from the initial creel to the end haul off, travelling at various speeds while encountering various angles and materials.  It is in these fibre-equipment and fibre-fibre interactions, which currently aren’t measured or recorded, that yarns experience friction which leads to fibre damage and the resulting variability and knock down in preform properties. To this effect, this PhD project will investigate fibre friction and damage during the weaving process with an aim to develop a full understanding of friction, interaction and damage relative to the preform manufacturing process.

This will be achieved through the following primary objectives:

* Design and development of test methodologies and rig, that is representative of loom and fibre interactions, to measure fibre friction and damage.

* Predictive modelling of fibre interactions and friction.

* Experimental analysis of fibre samples - testing will be performed using a number of variables in fibre, tool test material and angle/speed that is relative to that experienced during the weaving process.

* Investigation for the use of integrated sensors in the weaving process to monitor fibre friction/damage.

The knowledge and understanding developed through this project would provide valuable information that could help optimise loom design, processing parameters, material selection and generate preform “history” through data collection that could be correlated to its quality and mechanical performance.  Successful implementation of this can provide significant contribution to the implantation of this technology for structural applications in high value industries such as aerospace and automotive.  To accomplish the project the student will be trained to gain expertise and knowledge in the areas of 3D woven composites, weaving processes, testing design, materials characterisation/analysis and sensors.

Requirements:

This project is well suited for someone with a high interest in advanced materials investigation with industrial application.  A skills background from materials, mechanical engineering, textiles or any other related engineering field is beneficial.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 65%
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • Publications - peer-reviewed

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Campus

Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses


Contact supervisor

Dr Calvin Ralph


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